US President Joe Biden expressed concern about the situation in Ukraine and reiterated Washington’s support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
He added that he will meet “in all probability” with his Ukrainian and Russian counterparts Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Vladimir Poutine.
The comments came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is traveling to Latvia and Sweden next week to attend NATO and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meetings.
Ms Donfried said the build-up of “large and unusual” troops in Moscow would be high on the NATO summit’s agenda.
“It is now for the alliance to decide what are the next steps NATO wants to take,” she said.
TO @OSCE next week, Sec. Blinken will raise specific concerns “in highlighting the ongoing Russian aggression in the east #Ukraine & occupation of Ukrainians & #Georgian sovereign territory, #NagornoKarabakh conflict, and events both in and out of # Belarus – Karen Donfried of DoS
“Next week we will talk about our assessment of what is happening on Russia’s border with Ukraine and we will start this conversation about what options are on the table and what NATO as an alliance would like do it together, ”she said.
US, NATO and Ukrainian officials have sounded the alarm bells in recent weeks over what they call unusual Russian troop movements, suggesting that Moscow may be on the verge of launching an attack on its neighbor , accusations that Russia has dismissed as alarmist.
When asked if Mr Blinken was going to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Stockholm, Ms Donfried replied that she had no such announcements to make, but added: “Stay tuned “.
Source: Getty Images / Anadolu
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Ukraine Presidential Administration Chief Andriy Yermak on Friday voiced concerns over Russian military activities near the Ukrainian border.
The two discussed Russia’s “harsh rhetoric” towards Ukraine and agreed that all sides should continue diplomatic efforts to ease tensions, National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said. in a press release.
“Mr. Sullivan underscored the United States’ unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” said Ms. Horne.
The Ukrainian military intelligence chief told the Military Times newspaper over the weekend that Russia had more than 92,000 troops massed around Ukraine’s borders and was preparing for an attack by late January or early February.
Moscow dismissed these suggestions as inflammatory and said it was not threatening anyone and defended its right to deploy its troops as it wished.
Ms Donfried was asked what the United States saw specifically different in the formation of Russian troops this time, but she did not elaborate, other than saying it was “important and unusual”.
Russia’s intentions remain unclear and east-west tensions are high with Ukraine, Russia and NATO all conducting military exercises and Moscow accusing Washington of repeated nuclear attack on Russia earlier this month.
When asked whether the recent escalation had prompted Washington to consider deploying permanent troops to NATO’s eastern flank more seriously, Donfried did not elaborate on the specific point, but said business ministers NATO foreigners would discuss the broader strategy for the alliance’s posture in the 21st century next week.
At the OSCE meeting in Stockholm, Blinken will also address Russia’s occupation of Ukrainian and Georgian territories, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the crisis in Belarus, Donfried said.